Lead Drinking Water Standards

Lead Drinking Water Standards


Recent media reports in some parts of the country have highlighted concerns related to elevated levels of lead in the drinking water.

Golden State Water would like to assure customers that we monitor and test regularly to ensure the water we deliver to customers meets all state and federal drinking water standards, including those for lead and copper as found in the Revised Lead and Copper Rule. 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and State Water Resources Control Board regulate testing for lead and copper to protect public health. For systems like Golden State Water that have a good history of meeting the Lead and Copper Rule requirements, a tap sampling is conducted every three years to ensure lead levels remain below the drinking water Action Level of 15 ppb (parts per billion).  If a water system exceeds this Action Level, it can trigger other requirements which include more frequent water quality testing, source monitoring and possibly corrosion control treatment.

These tests are required to be taken at certain customer homes that would be considered the highest risk for lead exposure, including single-family structures that contain copper pipes with lead solder installed after 1982.

Golden State Water makes water quality information available via annual Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR), and any levels of lead detected during tests that exceed the detection limit for reporting would be published in your community’s report. 

Water quality test results are directly submitted by the State certified laboratory to the State of California’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) and recorded on the Safe Drinking Water Information Systems’ (SDWIS) website for full transparency. Click here to view test results on the SDWIS website.

As your water provider, we continually invest in water infrastructure, treatment and testing and take great pride in providing you with safe, reliable water.

To learn more about your home and to take inventory on your pipes please visit here. 

To learn more about the dangers of lead in drinking water, please review the following information from the USEPA.

Facts About Lead In Drinking Water

  • Lead is a naturally occurring element that can cause health concerns when ingested by humans or animals.
  • Lead in drinking water is most commonly the result of corrosive water breaking down service lines and home plumbing infrastructure constructed with lead.
  • Structures built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. Some structures built after 1986 may also be at risk, as even “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead.
  • Beginning January 2014, changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act further reduced the maximum allowable lead content of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures to 0.25 percent. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder, from which significant amounts of lead can enter into the water, especially hot water.
  • To address corrosion of lead and copper into drinking water, EPA issued the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The LCR requires corrosion control treatment to prevent lead and copper from contaminating drinking water. Corrosion control treatment means systems must make drinking water less corrosive to the materials it comes into contact with on its way to consumers’ taps.
  • Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. Children six years old and younger are most susceptible to the effects of lead.
  • Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in: Behavior and learning problems; Lower IQ and Hyperactivity; Slowed growth; Hearing Problems; Anemia; In rare cases, ingestion of lead can cause seizures, coma and even death.
  • Lead can accumulate in our bodies over time, where it is stored in bones along with calcium. During pregnancy, lead is released from bones as maternal calcium and is used to help form the bones of the fetus. This is particularly true if a woman does not have enough dietary calcium. Lead can also cross the placental barrier exposing the fetus the lead.  This can result in serious effects to the mother and her developing fetus, including: Reduced growth of the fetus; Premature birth.
  • Lead is also harmful to other adults. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from: Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension; Decreased kidney function; Reproductive problems (in both men and women).

Customers seeking additional information are encouraged to click here for resources published by the USEPA, click here for information from the American Water Works Association, or contact Golden State Water at 800.999.4033.